Cervical cancer is the fourth most commonly occurring cancer in women and the eighth most commonly occurring cancer overall. There were over 500,000 new cases in 2018. The top 20 countries with the highest rates of cervical cancer in 2018 are given in the table below.

Virtually all cervical cancers are associated with human papilloma viruses (HPV). However, the majority of women with HPV do not develop cervical cancer. Women become susceptible to developing cervical cancer following HPV infection, but other environmental factors are required for the cancer to develop.

The Continuous Update Project Panel judged there is some evidence that greater body fatness might increase the risk of cervical cancer. Read about all the evidence in our Third Expert Report.

Age-standardised rates are used in the tables. This is a summary measure of the rate of disease that a population would have if it had a standard age structure. Standardisation is necessary when comparing populations that differ with respect to age because age has a powerful influence on the risk of dying from cancer.

Cervical cancer rates

Swaziland had the highest rate of cervical cancer in 2018, followed by Malawi.

Rank Country Age-standardised rate per 100,000
1 Swaziland 75.3
2 Malawi 72.9
3 Zambia 66.4
4 Zimbabwe 62.3
5 Tanzania 59.1
6 Burundi 57.4
7 Uganda 54.8
8 Lesotho 52.1
9 Madagascar 51.6
10 Comoros 50.9
11 Guinea 45.5
12 Burkina Faso 45.1
13 Mali 43.9
14 South Africa 43.5
15 Mozambique 42.8
16 Bolivia 38.5
17 Senegal 37.8
18 Liberia 37.2
19 Angola 36.1
20 Kenya 33.8